jennaria: Woman with mask, as drawn by Brian Froud (Default)
This weekend was a staying-in, not-seeing-people sort of weekend. For wife, it was because of her ankle (and muscle strains resulting from compensating for the ankle): for me, it was sheer mental exhaustion.

Two things watched, though: the Royal Ballet's ALICE IN WONDERLAND (teaser snippet here), and first episode of MOB PSYCHO 100. Details/discussion/spoilers behind cut. Also, I have Opinions. )
jennaria: Japanese kanji (with a heart) saying 'I heart yaoi!' (Generic Japanese)
I've mentioned a couple times that I'm trying to work through my Crunchyroll queue, with mixed success. For the idly curious (or anyone feeling opinionated), here is the entire list.

A fairly long list of Anime I Intend To Watch, put behind a cut because really. )
jennaria: Kitty in a teacup (tea?)
Books: The Lunar Chronicles, of which I've finished CINDER (how was that an ending! Raaar!) and begun SCARLET. The problem is that they're due back at the library tomorrow. Guess I'm going to find out exactly how quickly I can read, and exactly how invested I am in this series.

TV shows: still working our way through Usagi Drop (which is still all kinds of adorable) and Miracle Train (which gets increasing points for explicitly not resolving all its ladies' problems into a forced happy ending). Also started watching White Rabbit Project on Netflix, which is fun in a 'I can have it on the TV while working on counted cross stitch' sort of way, but also very, mmm, surface-y.

Video games: Played through an entire level of LEGO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (which was hard enough that we had to resort to a walk-through to figure out what we were doing), and then our PS3 decided to freeze up and not save any of that. Boo! Boo I say! We're enjoying the game, but boo!
jennaria: Japanese kanji (with a heart) saying 'I heart yaoi!' (Generic Japanese)
So I may perhaps have impulse-bought the soundtrack to YURI! ON ICE a few weeks ago, in the wake of Series 1 ending and the euphoria of SO SHINY.

Today, I checked the tracking. My soundtrack finally arrived in the US as of yesterday!

(...still not in my state even, but hey, I'll take my shiny whee where I can get it.)
jennaria: Japanese kanji (with a heart) saying 'I heart yaoi!' (Generic Japanese)
The official theme of Anime Boston 2013 was Tales of Youkai. This meant they'd scheduled several panels that, based on the descriptions in the schedule, all pretty much looked the same: "Japan has lots of stories about youkai, and we're going to talk about them." I paraphrase, but not by a lot. Inasmuch as I went to a truly kickass panel last year on the subject, I knew the basics, and pretty much all the panels looked like they were covering just the basics. Not very interesting.

On the other hand, there were plenty of youkai cosplayers. And trolls, which maybe sorta count as youkai. Lots and lots of (Homestuck) trolls.

Four youkai from the TOUHOU PROJECT series
(No, seriously.  Lots of youkai.  These  are, IIRC, from the video game series TOUHOU PROJECT.)

Friday: Sweets, SAO, and other things that do not start with the letter S. )

Saturday: Music and ghost stories and more SAO. )

Sunday: one last SAO for the road. )

The rest of my photos - which include photos of Rise of the Guardians, Mario Brothers, Ultraman, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Brave, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Kuroko no Basuke, PsychoPass, The Hobbit, Detective Conan, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Legend of Zelda, Doctor Who, Fraggle Rock, How to Train Your Dragon, Touhou Project, Fushigi Yuugi, Iron Man, Disney Princesses, Trigun, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and of course Sword Art Online - are all here,  for those interested.  More to be added later, as Tanya took excellent photos, including an even better SAO group, and an amazing Tooth Fairy (from Rise of the Guardians, which was totally the unexpected cosplay hit of the con).
jennaria: Japanese kanji (with a heart) saying 'I heart yaoi!' (Generic Japanese)
Not the immediate future, because I am so failing at this whole 'being awake' thing you do not even know. But there will be pictures of cosplayers, and tales of awesome panels (and the Cosplayers who Got Away, as usual), and a bit of grumbling because ain't no con ever been perfect).

The short short version: this was the year of SWORD ART ONLINE, which is still wondrous and shiny thing, and of youkai, as befit the theme of the con. Also Homestuck cosplayers everywhere again, and surprising numbers of cosplayers of RISE OF THE GUARDIANS.

Also also, in addition to my various photos, I have a SWORD ART ONLINE wall scroll signed by the director, the producer, and the English voice actors for Kirito and Asuna. I win.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
NOIR

Genre: Surreal and Psychological

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: Kay describes this as one of the original 'chicks with guns' series. It definitely has kick-ass chicks aplenty, in what seems to be a classic sort of action set-up: girl wakes up in a room she doesn't recognize, with no memory of her recent life, just a few mysterious items and a set of extremely lethal abilities. (I will confess to making a joke about the first Resident Evil movie here.) She contacts another woman, who has her own set of secrets to keep, and they go hunting Kiriko's past.

This isn't to say it's easy to convince Mirielle to help. Even her eventual agreement has fangs to it: "I'll help you, and once you get answers, I'll kill you." But there's a weird sort of trust mixed in with the uncertainty. I don't know where this will lead them, but I want to find out.

Overall opinions: hey, kick-ass chicks and interesting f/f relationships? Definitely intrigued. Things like this are why I'm happy I chose this for Blogathon.

*

9 AM and I'm done! One last time, this has been for the Nature Conservancy, sponsored by XamJapan - y'all have generously given $130, which I'll be matching, for a total of $260. Hooray!

And finally, if you missed any of the posts, because you were asleep or for other reasons :cough: LJ being its uncooperative self on crossposting :cough:, and are curious, I've linked all of the anime reviews to the master list post. Thank you all again, for donating and for commenting!
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
WILD STRIKER

Genre: Sports

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: Soccer. :-D Okay, seriously: our hero has an older brother who is Most Amazing Japanese Soccer Player Ever. Naturally, this has left him with a few issues, and by that I mean a regular subscription, as Kyousuke used to want to be a soccer player himself - but what's the point when you'll always be outshone?

Then there's an incident in an arcade, where Kyousuke is trying his hand at busking (he's hoping to replace football in his life with music, and not doing a very good job of it). Some bullies throw a soccer ball at him, and he chases after them with it, then throws it up and kicks it. It's amazing! It's epic! It's practically glowing! ...it misses what it's aimed at, by just a few inches.

Alas for Kyousuke, one of the girls from his school, who's on the women's soccer team, sees this, and promptly uses the incident to blackmail him into coaching the aforementioned women's soccer team. He tries to resist, but still winds up kicking a ball back over to the women with that same flair (and, alas, lack of aim). And this time, not only Miki, but the teacher who coaches the men's soccer team at school sees him...

Overall opinions: Predictable? Probably. But it seems to know how to walk the walk without boring us. Not at the top of my list, but somewhere on my back-up 'maybe some day' list.

*

Just half an hour more. Kay has gone up to bed at last. It's just me and Stef finishing it out.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
AI NO KUSABI

Genre: Shonen Ai

How much seen: the whole thing (subbed)

What's it about: In the city of Tanagura, ruled by the supercomputer Jupiter and populated (apparently) by entirely men, there are the elite - always with silver or blond hair - and then there is everyone else. The elite are allowed to keep other, lesser men as Pets if they wish, and order them to do sexual acts for their owner's entertainment. Most of these Pets are born and bred into the role.

Iason Mink, elite of the elite, kept a street brat as his Pet for two years - and rumor has it that he did not limit himself to making Riki voyeuristic entertainment. Then he let Riki go, to see if he would come back.

This is one of the BL/yaoi stories: it's pretty much impossible to consider yourself interested in the BL side of anime and not have heard of it. Has it earned it? Well...it knows where a lot of the traditional buttons are located, so to speak. And it's got enough depth behind those buttons to earn the pushing. I'm glad I saw it. But I'm not sure it's something I'd seek out.

Overall opinion: it's a classic for a reason, and worth watching for that. But not something I personally would want to own.

*

Stef is on the edge of falling asleep on the couch, but Kay and I are still holding out. Just one more hour.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
BUBBLEGUM CRISIS: TOKYO 2040

Genre: Science Fiction

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: In Tokyo of 2040, everyone depends heavily on what are called 'Boomers' - i.e. robots, which are advanced enough on the AI front to do everything from construction work to executive management. (Insert your own management joke here.) Unfortunately, said 'boomers' are occasionally prone to going mad, for reasons not covered in the single episode I watched. Officially, mad boomers are the business of the police. Unofficially, there's a vigilante group ready to take care of it - except for the part where no one wants to admit that vigilante group exists.

The first episode actually does an excellent job of setting all of this up - the anti-boomer prejudice (for reason?), the omnipresence of boomers anyway. We're given a viewpoint character, who admittedly makes a few stupid mistakes (most notably accepting an invitation out with a boss who clearly only has the most blatant of sexual harassment on his mind) - but she also is clever enough and determined enough that when she demands to join the vigilantes after they save her, it doesn't feel like an entirely implausible demand.

Overall opinion: Intrigued. Possibly swayed somewhat by the hints of yuri subtext, although how much of that is genuine yuri subtext and how much is sheer delight in having female characters who interact with each other without having to have guys there as invisible props... It's definitely going on my To-Watch list.

*

In case anyone cares: Pepsi Throwback is much better than Cherry Coke for giving one that jolt of wake-up caffeine. Either that or the hours from 3 to 7 are just really nasty ones. Or both.

24 hours, 49 posts, to benefit the Nature Conservancy, sponsored by XamJapan. I'm matching all donations, so if you donate, let me know! Also, if you suspect you missed any posts (helloooo, not-always-cooperative Livejournal!), the post with the master list has links to all the posts I've made yesterday and today.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
POKEMON

Genre: Kids and Family

How much seen: one episode (dubbed)

What it's about: do not make me break out the YouTube videos of the theme song. I will. My brain isn't that fried that I can't find it. And it's a good quick overview.

(This is the other reason why I am reviewing Pokemon at the other end of the day from Sailor Moon. Despite the fact that I watched Sailor Moon in Japanese, as soon as I mentioned it to B, he started singing the English version of the theme song. I do not know which one gets stuck in your head more thoroughly and effectively, and I don't want to try and find out.)

Overall opinion: did you know it's pretty much impossible to find the Japanese version of Pokemon streaming on the web?

Other than that...well, this is pretty much a very standard sort of Saturday morning cartoon. There are (unintentional) nasty implications if you think the Pokemon are sentient (slavery! Gladiatorial combat! oh, yeah, lovely) but as near as I could tell, the series does its level best to not think about this. It's neither very deep or so blatantly shallow that you don't care. But it's not so intriguing that I'm likely to go hunting for more, either. Except maybe to get that song out of my head. Grr.

*

According to Kay, 7 AM was when this used to come on back when she was in high school. It's seems appropriate to time it thus. :-)
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
AI YORI AOSHI

Genre: Romance

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: boy and girl get engaged in childhood (one of those arrange marriage things). Years later, boy gets accepted to university and defies his family to go. Girl follows him, risking being disowned by her own family in the process.

Kay tells me that the episode we watched was technically from the sequel OVA, but if so, I am still intrigued by what came before. Like Ah! My Goddess, this manages to be sweet without being sickly. It helps quite a lot that the characters are, evidently, capable of actually talking to each other like sensible human beings. That's even rarer in fiction than in real life.

Overall opinion: shall be adding it to The List.

*

If you notice things getting shorter, then you are absolutely right. We have hit the part of today's program where Thia's brain is pretty much completely fried. Gnrgh.

Two and a half more hours. Five more posts. I'll make it somehow.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
HIME-CHAN NO RIBBON

Genre: Magical Girl

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: A girl from a Magical Kingdom is paying a visit to our world with her magical talking broom. As she later explains, apparently she's the prospective heir to the throne, but the heir to the throne must invent something new and magical before their position can be confirmed. So she's in search of someone who can take her new invention on a test run. (And when she finally finds such a person, they just happen to look exactly like her. Whether this was a requirement or a perk is never fully explained.)

Unfortunately, Himeko, the look-alike, has short hair and is a total tomboy. Naturally, because this is that kind of show, she has a total crush on someone who is mostly oblivious and regards her strictly as a friend. Himeko blames this on her tomboyishness, rather than on the fact that she's never gotten up the courage to say anything. It's just easier that way.

Naturally, when a girl who looks just like her (only more girly) shows up with an offer, Himeko is all over it. Erika explains the rules and limitations: primarily, the magic ribbon on offer can change Himeko to look like anyone. She has to be in front of a mirror for the initial change to work, and it will only last for an hour. It's not quite the lowest-key Magical Girl power I've seen yet - Magical Stage Fancy La La still has that honor, with its vague, 'ohm, yeah, I can let you *dance*!' - but it's a close contender.

Overall opinion: Not worth it. By the end of the first episode, I was wincing in embarrassment for the main character. I certainly don't want to see if I'm right

*

I'm getting up and moving around in between posts, or else I'm at serious riks of falling asleep on the couch. Gnrgh.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
SPEED RACER

Genre: Kids and Family

How much seen: one episode (dubbed)

What it's about: there's this guy, see, and he drives a car called the Mach 5... As the episode I came across (called 'The Car Hater') proved, Speed Racer stories don't always have to do with actual racing. Fast driving, yes. Racing, not necessarily.

I'd seen the live-action movie, so my first reaction was one of surprise that certain things they'd included in that movie were, in fact, from the TV series (i.e. the little brother and the monkey). My second, sadly, was amusement. I come from Initial D fandom, after all. There's a bit in First Stage where another driver is trying to ram Takumi off the road, and Takumi out-drives him so all he does is crash his own car. Faced with the same situation, Speed Racer hits a button on his steering wheel so that his entire car launches up into the air and over the oncoming car.

Overall opinion: Very old-fashioned, both in the overall style of the drawings, and the extremely cartoonish visual treatment of random side characters. I'm not sure how much of the equally cartoonish script can be attributed to English adaptation, and how much to the original Japanese. Either way, it's not really anything I'd seek out again, despite my snickering over un-intended, inappropriate comparisons between fandoms.

*

The caffeine is starting to lose its power. Nooo, sweet caffeine, don't leave me yet! I still have three and a half hours to go!
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
RUROUNI KENSHIN

Genre: Historical and Alternate History

How much seen: two episodes (subbed)

What's it about: pleasant meek wanderer, turns out to have a dark past from the recent civil war as the baddest of badasses. The episodes we watched were not the first two, or even from the beginning of an arc. They were from near the end of the Kyoto arc, during the fight with Soushio.

I say 'during' because - well, you know how Bleach has a (well-earned) reputation for fights that go on forever? As does Dragonball Z? Kenshin can give them a run for their money.

Part of it is due to characterization. Soushio is, alas, one of those villains who can't just keep his mouth shut. He's got to talk, and talk, and boast, and rant, and talk, and dear heaven won't someone shove a gag in his mouth. It's not so much that he keeps winning, and winning, and winning, although that's deeply exasperating in its own right. It's that he won't shut up about how this proves something about how his view of the world is correct.

The fight itself is duly epic - the best of the good guys attack Soushio, and he fends them off. But we started part-way through the fight, and by the end of the second episode we watched, Soushio still hadn't been properly defeated. (Which in turn led to my wistfully asking Kay if he did, at least, die horribly. She hesitated a moment, then said, "Not in these episodes.")

Overall opinion: I enjoyed the manga, back when I read it, and kept being told that the anime was equally good - you know how it is with sword-fights, you gotta see them for real for them to have the full effect. After this, I'm starting to think I was better off with the manga. At least then I could skim forward until stuff happened.

*

We've come down to the last four hours. The sky is starting to lighten outside.

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jennaria: Woman with mask, as drawn by Brian Froud (Default)
Thia

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